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Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Ministry criticized the UN Human Rights Office’s mission in Ukraine for its recent report on abuse, torture, and arbitrary executions and detentions of both Ukrainian and Russian prisoners of war in Ukraine.
The UN Human Rights Office’s mission in Ukraine on March 24 released its findings on the treatment of POWs in Ukraine during Russia's war as well as an update on human rights violations over a six-month period that ran until Jan. 31, 2023.
In a statement published on its website, the ministry said that it was "grateful to the Monitoring Mission for its work, in particular for documenting violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law committed by the Russian Federation in the context of its armed aggression against Ukraine."
"At the same time, we consider it unacceptable to place responsibility on the victim of aggression. According to the UN Charter, Ukraine has the right to self-defense," it read.
The ministry also said that the Ukrainian side expects the UN mission to "avoid any steps that could be interpreted as equating the victim and the aggressor."
Ukraine's ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets denied violations on the Ukrainian side and demanded evidence from the mission, saying that "Ukraine adheres to the Geneva Conventions, international law and is open to international organizations."
"It is Russia that has criminally invaded our land, kills and kidnaps Ukrainian citizens, and still blocks access to our prisoners of war. The scale of inhumane treatment and torture is hidden," he said.
According to Lubinets, the issue of the treatment of Russian POWs was "never raised" during repeated personal meetings with the head of the mission, Matilda Bogner, and the permanent coordinator of the UN mission in Ukraine, Denise Brown.